The days of signing up for all the pretty challenges I came across are long gone, and I keep it simple and reasonable these days – doable, hopefully. For 2013, I have three main challenges that I’m signed up for:
This is the only challenge I’m hosting, which is a very good incentive for completing it and staying on time! I still have to post my last review for last year’s challenge, but a late review’s not so bad, right?
I am trying to compile an Excel spreadsheet of all the books I currently have at home (as opposed to the ones I’ve already shipped back to Aus.), including where books are set and where the author is from, so that I can see what I’ve got. Only it’s taking quite a while so I still haven’t figured out what I’m reading for January, which is France. I know I have quite a bit of choice, which makes it a lot harder to decide! But for February, which is Sudan, I have What is the What by Dave Eggers and A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. Nothing by a Sudanese writer, unfortunately.
I watched – read – this challenge from the sidelines last year, and chafed at not being able to get hold of the books that people were reading and reviewing, because they sounded so awesome but often weren’t available outside Australia. More than that, I admire the objective of the challenge – to raise awareness and shine the spotlight on the fantastic female authors and books in Australia.
I easily talked myself into signing up for 2013, which will give me motivation to read the many Australian women writers I already have on my shelf, unread. And I do have quite a few, here. So, no new releases for this challenge probably (unless The Red Queen really does come out later this year), but books don’t have an expiry date and they shouldn’t have a short shelf life.
Some of the authors I have here include: Margo Lanagan, Melina Marchetta, Favel Parrett, Virginia Duigan, Ruth Park, Miles Franklin, Christina Stead, Laura Buzo, Kate Morton, Jennifer Fallon, Michelle Cooper, Emily Maguire and Kirsty Eagar. So, more than a few! I’m not sure yet who else I’ve got, but I also have some romance authors on my Kindle to read too.
I recommend you head on over to the website for this challenge, it’s an impressive accomplishment and features some great books and interviews to get excited about!
This challenge is in its 6th year and is hosted by John at The Book Mine Set. It runs from July to June so we’re halfway through, and I’ve already met the challenge goal of 13 books by Canadian authors – yippee! This gives me 6 months of no-pressure cruising, adding titles to my challenge list where I can.
Some Canadian titles from my TBR pile that I intend to read this year include:
Girl in Shades by Allison Baggio
Maidenhead by Tamara Faith Berger
Song of Kosovo by Chris Gudgeon
Walls: Travels Along the Barricades by Marcello DiCintio
One Good Hustle by Billie Livingston
The Emperor of Paris by CS Richardson
The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler
Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie
Starling by Lesley Livingston
Held by Edeet Ravel
Vital Signs by Tessa McWatt
40 Things I Want to Tell You by Alice Kuipers
The Water Man’s Daughter by Emma Ruby-Sachs
Everybody Has Everything by Katrina Onstad
Daughters Who Walk This Path by Yejide Kilanko
Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
419 by Will Ferguson
You can sign up for this challenge at any time.
This is the second year for this challenge, which is hosted by Bev at My Reader’s Block. Last year I signed up for the Mount Blanc level, which was to read 24 books bought prior to 2012. I read 32.
I’ve signed up for the same level this year too – let’s not get crazy here people! – but I love this challenge over other TBR challenges because you don’t have to make a list of the books you’ll read in advance, and then try to stick to it. I’ve done that twice before and failed miserably both times. I’m too much of a mood reader for that to work. I just never know what I’ll want to read next. You can make a list for this challenge too, but you don’t have to, and the open-endedness of it appeals to me. Plus, you don’t have to check back in later! No posts for adding links to reviews or anything. It’s nice and simple.
I’m going to be posting Jamie’s End of Year Book Survey, which I think might encompass some of this, but I wanted to make a bit of list here because “studies have shown” ha ha that if you write things down, you’re much more likely to actually achieve them. We’re bordering on fact here, and since I’m pretty bad at both writing things down and sticking to goals, I figure it can’t hurt to try.
As you know by now, I’m leaving Canada and moving back to Tasmania, permanently (minus trips etc.) later this year, which means my year is going to have a bit of a hiccup where there won’t be much reading or reviewing, and I’m probably going to get really grumpy because of it. Can’t be helped. But here’s what I do want to try and achieve this year:
To not get so far behind in reviews
This isn’t looking too good at the moment, since I have three novels and 9 picture books from December still to review, put I would ideally like to be no more than 3 books behind. Any more than that and I start to forget what I wanted to say, and feel overwhelmed by all the work I have to do simply to keep going, let alone stay on top of it all.
Make some serious headway in my Netgalley titles
It’s also overwhelming how many books I have on my Kindle from Netgalley, that I haven’t read yet. Some date from 2011, but thankfully not too many. Question is, should I focus on the most recent or try to go through the backlog first? I always aim to read them around the time they’re released – I even have an Excel spreadsheet (oh wait, no I switched it to a Word table because it was more useful for this) of them all, in an attempt to get back on track, but so far it hasn’t helped.
To post an interesting discussion piece once a month
Sometimes I just don’t have any ideas for such posts, but most of the time it’s simply a question of, well, time. Some weeks it’s all I can do to post a review or two and read my email, let alone replying to comments and reading other people’s blogs. You may have noticed, but I get overwhelmed fairly easily and my method of dealing with it is to simply shut it all out and focus on what I can do. But I also think it’s about getting into a routine, and getting better at managing my time when I am on the computer. Wishful thinking? Hopefully not. (I also had the idea of starting a weekly or monthly feature to give me more structure, but I haven’t had any ideas for one yet!)
Use Twitter more
I think all these social media sites are best utilised when you have a mobile phone – a smartphone of some kind – which I don’t have. I also think they’re great for people who are good at chatting and talking in general, which I don’t think I am. I may be long-winded in my posts, but in person I’m quiet and often struggle for things to say. (Something about the written word and not having someone stare at me that frees me up.) I also have to figure out how to use Twitter better, because aside from linking to new posts I don’t really know what to do with it!
Catch up on review copies
I don’t have too many of these lying around, thankfully, but I do have a few and I really, really need to read them soon. Again, slightly overwhelmed. I wish many times I was a fast reader, but truth is it can take me as long as a week to read a book (or in the case of Mario Vargas Llosa, three weeks!), and when you have to fit in books for challenges, you start prioritising differently. I need to prioritise review copies, is what I’m trying to say. Again, tricky when they might not be what you’re in the mood for, right now.
I think that’s about it, in terms of things that I want to improve on, whether I think they’re doable or not. Putting it down in writing is a good way to take it a bit more seriously. Wish me luck!